Well, I am still trying to incorporate educational technology into my students' every day lives; however, we are running into trouble with gaining access to the available technology in our labs due to filters put in place by our tech team. VERY FRUSTRATING!! I know the filters are put in place to keep spam and other non-educational material out of our students' reach, but we cannot access the sites we need. My classes were even blocked from online interviews with lawyers, physicians, and interior designers this week when we were working on our 10th grade I-Search papers. It is frustrating when we try to use our time wisely then end up wasting time trying to submit a request to get the content needed unblocked!
This past week, all of my students got started on a self-selected reading book. Not only are the kids actually reading a real book, they are posting comments to my blog that I have made for each grade level. I am requiring my students to post 3 separate blogs as they progress through the book, so they actually have check points in which they must read a certain amount in a certain time. I am extremely impressed by my students' comments about their books. I was worried that they wouldn't take it seriously, but as they read, I am also posting comments about the book that I am currently reading. I am showing the classes my blog as I post so they see me modeling what I want them to do for me. It worked quite well, after unblocking my blog so they could access it at our school! I took my students to the lab for thirty minutes only to post to the blog. Yet...we were BLOCKED! I had to allow anonymous access just so they could post. UGH.
In conclusion, maybe someday our school will allow full access to the technology the rest of the world is using. I understand the need for filters, but at the same time, how are we teaching our kids to be 21st century learners with limited access?